By Straits Times
SINGAPORE - Singapore has tightened its border restrictions in response to new virus variants and the worsening global pandemic situation.
All travellers, including Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents, will have to take a Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test when they arrive in Singapore.
This will take effect from Jan 24, 11.59pm, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Saturday (Jan 16).
The stay-home notice requirements, including the PCR test at the end of the stay, will continue to be in place.
Short-term visitors will also need travel insurance to cover the costs of their medical treatment in Singapore, if they are suspected of having the virus.
Those applying to enter Singapore under the air travel pass and reciprocal green lane arrangements will need to have a minimum coverage of $30,000 for their Covid-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs in Singapore, from Jan 31, 11.59pm.
These short-term visitors are currently required to bear the full cost of medical treatment, if they are suspected of having Covid-19 or if they need medical treatment for the virus while in Singapore.
As a further precaution, all returning Singapore citizens and PRs from Britain and South Africa will be subject to an additional seven-day self-isolation at their place of residence, following their 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities.
This will take effect from Jan 18, 11.59pm.
They will be tested at the end of their SHN, and again after they have completed their seven-day self-isolation period.
These new restrictions come amid warnings from American federal health officials that a far more contagious variant of the coronavirus first identified in Britain could become the dominant source of infection in the United States by March.
This is likely to lead to a surge in cases and deaths, according to a forecast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cases also continue to rise worldwide, with new variants detected in various countries like Brazil and South Africa, even as the global death toll hit two million this weekend.
MOH said: "As the global situation evolves, we will continue to adjust our border measures to manage the risk of importation and transmission to the community.
"The Ministry of Health will also continue to review the data and evidence on any new viral strains and update the measures accordingly."
Foreign workers will also need to take tests once they arrive in Singapore.
Newly arrived work permit and S pass holders from the construction, marine and process sectors from higher-risk countries or regions must take an on-arrival PCR test and serology test from Jan 18, said the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF).
"The on-arrival PCR test will enable early detection of Covid-19 cases, provide access to medical care quickly, and reduce the risk of leakage of imported cases into the community," MTF said.
It added that the on-arrival serology test, on the other hand, will allow for the identification of workers who have recovered and have antibodies.
These recovered workers will be exempted from SHN, additional seven-day testing regime and rostered routine testing requirements.
"This can help to minimise work disruption and associated costs from the SHN and tests. The cost of the new on-arrival tests will be borne by the employers," MTF said.